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May 13, 1974

Menstrual Extraction: Putting It and All Its Synonyms Into Proper Perspective as Pseudonyms

Author Affiliations

Preterm Clinic Washington, DC

JAMA. 1974;228(7):849-850. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230320019018

BEFORE the US Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion on Jan 22, 1973, the performing of uterine evacuations before pregnancy could be diagnosed was suggested as a way of evading abortion laws.1 Some advocates argued that women did not really want to know whether they had terminated a pregnancy or not. If no examination of tissue was performed, both doctor and patient could be ignorant of the diagnosis. No one seemed concerned regarding the possibility of overlooking an ectopic pregnancy, hydatidiform mole, or an endocrine dysfunction.

Articles on the subject appeared in one account (Newsweek, July 24, 1972, p 69), in Johnston's account (New York Times, Nov 19, 1972), and other newspapers, evoking much interest from the public. While the medical world was pondering the merits of this philosophy, women's liberation groups pounced on the concept of menstrual extraction, viewing it as a means of better controlling their own destinies and